Take a break

Wow, we’re over halfway through January 2023 already, and I’m wondering where the time has gone.

Back in early October, I left Octopus after just under 4 years employment, and decided that I would take a break before embarking on my next challenge. In my mind, I planned to take the remainder of 2022 off and start a job in January – and I’m delighted to say that I have just managed it, as I start a new job next Monday (30th) – watch out on LinkedIn for details nearer the time 🙂

Taking a break isn’t something that I really ever thought about earlier in my career, especially when the children were younger and every penny counted, however in a different stage of life I have been so fortunate to be able to step back and look at what I wanted to do next. We all get into a rhythm of jumping from one paid job to another as we have bills to pay, and especially at the moment times are tough for many people, so taking a break isn’t something everyone can do, and often doesn’t enter our minds in the general busyness of life.

Having worked pretty much continuously for well over 30 years, the longest I have ever had off is 8 weeks between two previous jobs, and that was 4 years ago. Prior to that, it was the usual 2 weeks annual leave in the summer. I knew that I wanted to work, and still be within testing, but jumping straight into something else just didn’t feel the right thing to do, so that’s when I planned for a longer break.

I wrote a list of things I wanted to do, and initially added some learning objectives as I felt that I should, but part of me also wanted to have time away from anything testing related for a while – and I listened to that part of me and prioritised my leisure time. Learning is important, but I didn’t feel in the right frame of mind, and forcing myself to try to learn anything never works, so with past mistakes in mind I didn’t push it! I did a lot of walking, some running, got over the flu bug everyone seemed to have around Christmas, helped at a school fete, covered some daytime radio shows, took photos, met friends for brunch and totally enjoyed myself. Its a sense of total freedom that I haven’t really had before – and being able to go online and buy an afternoon ticket to the UK Masters Snooker the other week was an absolute bonus 🙂

It wasn’t 100% leisure focused though as I did spend time job searching through November & December, spending a little time most days before heading out. I had interviews and put the time in as much as I needed to and had chats with recruiters in a wide variety of places!

Now here I am over 3 months later feeling pretty refreshed, and really relishing the though of getting back to work – and that is exactly how it should be for me. I’ve loved the time off that I have been so lucky to have – it gives me a sense of what life could be like when I eventually retire (provided my health is up to it), and that’s been helpful. There is a feeling that retiring means sitting around looking for things to do – in fact if I had carried on much longer on a break, I would have ended up being too busy to fit in a full time job! There are a lot of things I would still like to do, and I will get around to them at some point, but for now, its time to be thankful for the time I have had, and to look forward to the next chapter in my career.

If you are in a position to take a break between jobs, or a sabbatical whilst employed, I would recommend it. Having time to step back and reflect really does help.

Thanks for reading.

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